Bowling has been around in one form or another for roughly 7000 years. Veritasium explores some of the significant technological advancements that the seemingly simple sport has experienced in the last few decades, along with the physics at play in the design of bowling balls, pins, and alleys.
Long before Dude Perfect was posting trick shot videos on YouTube, bowler Andy Varipapa was knocking down pins with such skill that he could target specific pins on two separate lanes at the same time, throw backward strikes, and even bowl with his foot. This vintage newsreel’s voiceover is as entertaining as the bowling.
Writer-director Sam H. Buchanan’s amusing short film imagines what it would be like if sports like golf, tennis, and billiards were played with a bowling ball instead of their normal game balls. Naturally, the added weight and mass make things a little more difficult, though it could make ice hockey even more exciting.
We’ve previously taken a behind-the-scenes tour of a bowling alley. This video from 3D animator Jared Owen offers a more in-depth explanation of the engineering and mechanics that go into the machine that magically straightens and resets the pins between balls.
With the proper pilot at the controls, photography drones can capture visuals that once seemed impossible, like this sequence shot by Jay Christensen. The scene starts outside of Minneapolis’ Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater, zooms down the lanes, through the pinsetters, around the bar, then into the movie theater.
We’ve seen what the insides of a bowling ball look like. Now see those balls get that way in this clip from How It’s Made, starting out with a soupy goo for its core, wrapped in polymer and polyurethane layers, and then sanded. We were most surprised by the odd shape of the core.
Designed by LEGOParadise, this miniature bowling alley not only looks great, but it functions. Its mechanism separates bowling balls from pins, and has a crank-driven pinsetting machine, along with a working ball return. Show your support for the project on LEGO Ideas, and it could become an official set.
Fans of The Big Lebowski will be thrilled to see the return of John Turturro’s purple-clad ball licker Jesus Quintana. Turturro wrote and directed this spin-off movie which sends The Jesus a wild journey with a quirky crew of cohorts. The star-studded flick hits theaters and on-demand digital on 3/6/20.
Smart guys Mark Rober and James Bruton show us how to game the system with engineering know-how. They recently collaborated on a special bowling ball that can consistently bowl strikes by simply leaning in the direction you want it to go after you release it down the alley.
Bowling pins look so smooth and perfect that you’d think they were made by casting them. But this clip from the UK edition of How It’s Made shows how each one is made by gluing together wood boards and turning them on a lathe before coating them in a plastic shell.
Bowling alleys typically coat their lanes with oil to protect the wood. This has a significant effect on the ball, so much so that competitions use a variety of oil patterns to challenge competitors. Vox spoke with pro bowler Phil Edwards about bowling’s hidden layer.
When The Slow Mo Guys team up with Blue Man Group, you know they’re going to make a mess of epic proportions. That’s exactly what they did in this extended length video, as they used bowling balls to wreak as much havoc as possible in front of a high-speed camera.
Ben Ketola shows off his extraordinary ability to knock all 10 pins over not just once, but 12 times in a row, scoring a perfect 300 game in just 86.9 seconds. It doesn’t hurt that he had access to ten lanes to accomplish the feat, so he never had to wait for the pins to reset.